For our fourth Q&A series, I introduce you to the talented graphic designer, Inca Starzinsky. I met Inca in college in London were we both studied Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins. Inca was my partner in crime in design and we worked on countless school projects together. Inca also holds a masters degree from the Royal College of Art where she focused her studies on textile design. She was also a member of the editorial & design team of Graphic Magazine and has designed for shoe companies Terra Plana & United Nude. Not to mention, she also taught me how to use freehand and photoshop at college. We are especially excited to introduce her latest work of silk scarves which with debut this month at Chariots on Fire's Pop up Shop at Tortoise in Venice, California. I am also convinced that this is just the start of many more collaborations to come. Enjoy! Ritz
Chariots on Fire: Your background is in graphic design and work with silkscreen printing on paper - what made you decide to start working with fabrics?
Inca: I was getting bored with the 2D-ness in graphic design and screen printing and wanted to experiment more with the application of print on 3D objects. This made me apply to the RCA (Royal College of Art) in 2005, and do not regret this move, even if it has been hard at times (as textiles is different to graphics in many ways). But I always wanted to combine the two disciplines. I never wanted to make a total career change - I am a graphic designer at heart.
Chariots on Fire: You've always been a fan of patterns - even at college you were always a master of silk screening combinations of shapes and vivid colors. Where does the fascination come from?
Inca: Oh, I don't know exactly. Maybe from my family? Who had, and still have, some art from the '60s hanging in their houses, like Victor Vasarely etc, which used geometric shapes, patterns and bright colours. I grew up with this and it never left my brain.
Chariots on Fire: What inspired your "stamps" pattern?
Inca: At the RCA I got more and more interested in printing digitally onto fabric. Not because it can be an easier and quicker process than screen printing, but I liked the idea of printing with photographic images onto fabric, prints and effects that you can't achieve with screen printing.
I got obsessed with the old, used, vintage, nostalgic, maybe because I got a little tired of the clean and perfect, the "white". I liked the idea of printing something old and worn out onto something high quality and new. Almost to preserve the history and stories behind objects.
Pictured above: Par Avion stamp scarves. Photo by: Joe Gascoigne
I had wanted to make a pattern with used stamps for a while, as stamps have connotations of travel, communication and (again) history, but in particular they represent a more meaningful, or perhaps romantic form of communication in the context of today’s society.
And the idea to separate them painstakingly by colours was born with you together, Ritz, on a very late night in London after a few glasses of wine.
Chariots on Fire: How does digital printing designs on fabric differ from working with print on paper?
Inca: A fair bit, as the ink bleeds a lot more on fabric than on paper, and the colours can be very different too. It drove me mad in the beginning, and I was once told that you can't work like a graphic designer in textiles, you can't make things as precise and perfect. For my final masters project at the RCA I ran tests for 4 months. I managed it in the end, and it was worth it, it was pretty close to what I wanted. I have now worked out a technique to do this much quicker…
Chariots on Fire: Any ideas brewing for your next scarf collection?
Inca: Yes, I have three new collections already. One of them will be exhibited during the London Design Festival 2011 in September.
Chariots on Fire: Are you influenced by a particular era or style?
Inca: I used to always think the '60s. I like the style in general. When I started studying textiles and looked through the old vintage textile swatch books in the archives, I realised that a lot of prints and designs from the '60s were recycled from a long long time ago, just blown up to be more bold. But I guess this is what I like - big bold shapes.
Chariots on Fire: How do you start your day?
Inca: Putting out email fires (Douglas Coupland called it that on Twitter the other day, and I thought this was a great description), and a cup of coffee.
Chariots on Fire: What other profession other than yours would like to attempt?
Inca: This might sound odd and surprising, but I think I would love to work for a charity, doing some good.
Chariots on Fire: Do you consider yourself a collector? If so, what do you collect and why?
Inca: Several years ago I started to collect wood pieces. If it is the shape, the colour or the structure, it does not matter, as long as it has something intriguing about it. I think this comes from home influences again. My family has a few sculptures by Franz Bucher, who was a sculptor working with wood. As a child I was already very intrigued by these sculptures, and I still very much like his work now. Unfortunately he is not very well known internationally.
Then, I collect a lot of fabrics and haberdashery bits and pieces. There is no particular reason for this, I just always think I will make something nice with them, or it is for research, or I just want to own it.
Chariots on Fire: You live in London, what are some of your favorite "secret" spots?
Inca: Not sure if I know many secret spots. I live in Hackney and do really like this part of London. I don't go out and explore London that much anymore, but in this part of town I tend to constantly find new places popping up. The east seems to change weekly. I do sometimes feel by accident like a tourist in my own town. Just the other week I came across two little bakeries, which I have never seen before, under the arches on Mentmore Terrace. One even hosts a bread-making course on Saturdays. I might pop down one Saturday and take part, I like baking.